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How and Why to Refinance Your Mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to reduce monthly payments, lock in a better interest rate, and gain additional time for repayment, but it should not be entered into lightly. Refinancing at the wrong time or for the wrong reason can actually result in you having a higher payment or a lower interest rate.

If you're interested in refinancing your mortgage but aren't sure whether or not the time is right to do so, here are some simple suggestions to help you decide.

You'll also find some basic information on the refinancing process as well as things to look for to help you determine if the time is right to apply for a refinance loan.

What is refinancing?

If you're not sure exactly what refinancing is, it is simply the act of getting a second loan to pay off the original... leaving you with the new payment schedule and the new interest rates. Refinancing often lowers your monthly payment, because the new loan is taken out on a smaller amount than the original mortgage loan.

In addition to a potential significant reduction in your monthly payment and interest rates, refinancing can buy you more time to pay off your mortgage if you're quickly approaching a balloon payment that you can't quite afford or simply would like to extend your loan.

How do you refinance?

In order to refinance a mortgage loan, you have to find a lender to issue the refinancing loan. The loan application is very similar to most other applications, except that the subject of the loan is the balance of the original mortgage and that the collateral is the equity that you have in the house or other real estate that the mortgage was taken out to purchase.

In most cases the bank or other lender that you take out the refinance loan through will handle all of the transfers and payment of the mortgage, though there may be some instances where you have to handle it yourself depending upon the specific lender that you use.

When should you refinance?

The best time to refinance a mortgage is after a significant portion of the mortgage has been repaid and sufficient equity has built up. Since the equity is most likely what will secure the refinance loan, it's important to have enough to cover the loan amount.

You should also take care to apply for your refinance loan at a time when interest rates are lower than when you took out the mortgage, if possible, so that the lower interest rate acts as an additional bonus to refinancing.

In most cases, you'll end up with a lower monthly payment as well, but this will largely depend upon the term that you agree on for the refinance loan and the amount remaining on the original mortgage.

Signs that the time is right to refinance

A variety of signs can indicate that the time is right to refinance your loan. Begin watching the news or reading finance journals to determine what national interest rates are set at, and if they are likely to increase or decrease in the near future.

Depending upon the loan market, you may also notice lenders offering special rates or promotions for a limited time... investigate the offers to make sure that they're legitimate, and consider whether or not they will better suit your needs than waiting for rates to change.

When the market is slow, a variety of good opportunities develop in order to stimulate borrowing... don't let a good deal pass you by because you're unsure.

 
 
 
 
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